Can my daughter have a breast reduction at age 17?

Q:

My daughter has been experiencing the drawbacks of having big breasts.  She used to be confident and active; now she is shy and can hardly do anything.  I’ve noticed lately how she is hunching.  She has also been experiencing some pain in her lumbar area. She is only 17 years old, almost 18, and she has mentioned breast reduction to me.  She is now a size 34 DD and she would like to go down to a 34 B.  I would really appreciate some advice about this situation as to what we can do.

A:

Breast reduction in teens who have not yet reached full breast development is reasonable when there are significant symptoms. The only problem is the possibility of continued breast growth which could lead to the need to reduce the breasts again. If the breast size has been stable for some time (entirely possible at 17), then this risk is significantly reduced.

R. T. Buchanan, MD

A:

Yes, breast reduction can be done at age 17, especially if she has pain symptoms. Most insurances cover the cost. Though rare, some females re-grow the breasts after a reduction and may need an additional operation. Reduction from 34DD to 34B is a reasonable request.

J. M. Darrow, MD

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